The Gamebook Adventures series is quite an interesting franchise. In the wake of the re-release of the classic Fighting Fantasy series from Steve Jackson himself, Tin Man Games dared to enter the market with their own title, originally developed from the ground up for the iDevice. I have reviewed the first two titles Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes (TMA Review) & Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer (TMA Review) and found them very compelling. They’re very well written and more focus on the adventure than combat part of the process, though when it comes to finding the best endings, they can be a bit too difficult for the uninitiated. In their latest release - Gamebook Adventures 3: Slaves of Rema – they vowed to fix the latter issue, making the games accessible to both casual and die-hard gamers.
SEED 1 – RISE OF DARKNESS (TMA Review) tried to reach for the crown of the Action/RPG genre back in late 2009. Released under Chillingo, it offered several interesting features, including the ability to switch between classes at any point in the game. However it was crippled by the developer’s attempt to squeeze more money out of the players using in-app purchases (IAP), offering the gamers special items that could not be acquired using other means in order to “help ease the gameplay”. In reality some of them were essential to avoid significant frustration which couldn’t help but influence the ratings, which in turn led to the eventual re-release of the game as FREE and an additional release of SEED 1 Gold Edition without IAP. And now the sequel is live on the App Store, let’s see if SEED 2 manages to overcome some of its previous shortcomings.
When it comes to RPGs I prefer turn based to real time combat, and while 3D looks spiffy I’d much rather see nicely rendered 2D images. If it needs to be 3D, then more of an isometric or top down perspective is the way to go. A world with a well developed history is a bonus, and quests and NPC interaction are basically a must. As it turns out, Rimelands: Hammer of Thor has all of this in spades, and what at first glance appeared to be “big whoop, another RPG” is now turning into “hey, this is a pretty nice RPG”.
Back in the early 90′s, I was in love two things: a cute girl named Christina, and a fathomless role playing game called Ultima 7. But because of my awkward appearance on the one hand, and our horrid computer on the other, I had no luck with either. I got dumped by one, and until I was able to shell out for four more megabytes of RAM, I’d have to play Ultima 7 on a borrowed computer. That was the way of it for a long time ago, but in the intervening years, the ONLY games I’ve come back to are Heroes of Might and Magic (see Palm Heroes) and Ultima 7. Ultima 7 was the pinnacle of computer engineering at the time and even today remains unrivalled for a complete role playing experience. Many today consider it the best computerised RPG ever. Unfortunately, it isn’t truly playable on iOS devices for many reasons. The first is that EA hold the rights to it, and the second is that in order to run playably (in a virtual environment) on iOS devices, it needs a complete overhaul.
Guess what – people at Apple in charge of reviewing apps seem to have stepped up on their game. Rimelands: Hammer of Thor, the recently previewed contender to one of the top spots in the App Store’s RPG games has been released for everyone to enjoy. I myself have already spent a fair amount of time on it thanks to a hands-on with an earlier build and am sure it will bring hours of fun to any RPG fan. Here’s my sum-up of it in case you’re too lazy to read the full text:
But I can tell you what we have shaping up here will definitely give even the titles from the big developers a run for their money. Rimelands throws in the pot an excellent storyline and setting, great graphics, a deep and varied RPG system and superb replayability to serve the iDevice gamers one of the best RPG games on the platform.
If you’re still in doubt – look out for a full review at TMA soon, or just go ahead and pick it up right away.
Crescent Moon Games, Rimelands: Hammer of Thor - $4.99
When Square Enix announced they were developing an iDevice RPG, I was thrilled. What else could I expect from the company behind the famous Final Fantasy series? Parts 8 and 9 of the franchise were some of the best games I’ve ever played and the platform is perfect for the genre, right? And when Chaos Rings finally came out at the whopping price of $12.99 (the most expensive RPG at the App Store to date), you can imagine my interest. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
Despite the prominence of the RPG genre on the App Store, an inquisitive mind quickly discovers that about 70% are Action/RPGs ported from other mobile devices, with a few originally developed for the platform. The other 30% are split between the classic cRPGs like Undercroft (TMA Review), the Diablo-clones with Dungeon Hunter (TMA Review) in the lead and, very rarely, classic console jRPGs like the famous FINAL FANTASY series. It seems the latter has just got a massive upgrade with the release of Crimson Gem Saga – a port of a highly acclaimed PSP title.
Open-world space shooting/trading games have not had much of a track record on the iDevice. On the upside there are the excellent Warpgate (TMA Review) and Space Miner: Space Ore Bust (TMA Review), though the former can’t really be called a space shooter and the latter isn’t quite open world. The title that could most closely fit the bill is Flatspace (TMA Review) but the poor interface pushes the game under. And now Sad Cat Software, authors of the highly acclaimed Project Phoenix (TMA Review) have released Ultraviolet Dawn to claim the genre for their own. Can they succeed?
The adaptation of the Choose Your Own Adventure gamebook genre to the iDevice had truly exploded earlier this year, with the release of both the tried and tested classic Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (TMA Review) by Steve Jackson and an original Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes (TMA Review) written exclusively for the iDevice by Tin Man Games. The former was not a big surprise in terms of content, being a port of original paper gamebook. The latter, however, turned out to be truly a bold re-imagination of the genre for the platform, with some interesting design decisions. And it seems this bold step has only been the first one with the long awaited release of Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer.
Having just finished up a review on Luna Story, I feel like I’m kind of in a “been there, done that” mode with Axion. However, I would consider Axion the “big brother” to the former. It has everything that Luna Story has (except that the story doesn’t seem quite as detailed), but it also has some nice additional features that weren’t present in Luna Story. The visuals are better, the controls are more user friendly, and the ability to create potions, advanced items and “super” pets through the act of compounding allows for a very detailed inventory system. It feels old school compared to a Dungeon Hunter or Chaos Rings, but there’s still a lot to be enjoyed here. Feel free to discuss Axion in our forums.